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July 28, 2007

Objects May Be Less Lost Than They Appear

Filed under: art, Bill Bickel, CIDU, comic strips, comics, found objects, humor, Six Chix — Cidu Bill @ 12:02 am


Dave Van Domelen: “Found objects” is a style of art that incorporates stuff the artist found lying around, to greatly simplify. The joke is that the old lady either:
a) is claiming her real umbrella, which the artist “found” somewhere and put in the art, or
b) thinks it’s the Lost & Found, rather than an exhibit.

Once everybody started explaining this to me, I remembered I did know what “found objects” art was: Some years back my sister-in-law, an artist, invited us to a found art show. She managed to briefly convince me that a janitor’s mop and pail lying on the floor was actually part of the exhibition. She took some pride in being able to fool me; but the way I see it, she just demonstrated how silly the whole concept is.


  1. I think it’s wonderful that you used this comic in your post…..and how wonderful that you took the time to recap in your mind some lost info about “art”…t

    Comment by toni — July 31, 2007 @ 1:28 am

  2. That janitor mop & pail was in an amusing early Pearls Before Swine. I thought it was pretty funny.

    Comment by Rasheed — July 31, 2007 @ 8:58 am

  3. Rasheed, the incident I mentioned took place in 1979. I think my sister-in-law had Pearls Before Swine beat.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — July 31, 2007 @ 10:14 am

  4. really funny, and it’s so true too. I would join that lady to claim the mop 🙂

    Comment by liliane — July 31, 2007 @ 10:14 am

  5. Way back around 1970, the gallery shows in the Fine Arts building at college began to push the envelope more and more as to the definition of “art”.

    But the best example of “found art” I saw there came from an unlikely source.

    Graffiti had been appearing in the stairwells: “B.D. [heart] Maria” and “Maria [heart] B.D.”. The janitors would clean these off but they would always reappear.

    One day, during a particularly pretentious show in the art gallery, the janitors took two discarded planks of wood, stood them upright in the stairwell and gave them a title on a real art gallery title card: “Maria and B.D.”

    Comment by Mark — July 31, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  6. Oh, I wasn’t saying Pearls was first about anything, sorry for the confusion. I was just mentioning a correlation. Except in Pearls, Pig had just leaned his mop against the wall, and attracted some critics.

    Wish I could remember 1979. I hear my 1st Birthday party was killer.

    Comment by Rasheed — August 1, 2007 @ 9:42 am

  7. There was a hysterical [I thought, as a cynical ex-art-school-student] story a few years back about an expensive piece of art that consisted of, literally, a pile of garbage. I think it was an upended wastebasket.

    Anyway, the hilarious part was that after the gallery opening party, the custodians dutifully cleaned up the pile of trash that someone had left in the gallery. There was great consternation the next day, and the dumpsters were rifled to recover this extremely expensive work of art.

    Comment by Chaz Larson — August 1, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

  8. It’s true that there’s too much pretension in art these days. However there is a serious and respected aspect of “found objects.” Check out these sites:

    Comment by Ralph — August 1, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  9. A few years ago I went to the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art with some friends, and they had a work of art outside the building, and some poorly designed signs that only indicated the general direction of the work of art. We had a 10 minute conversation that went (with none of us being sarcastic) something like this:

    “Is this the art?”

    “I think that’s a bicycle rack.”

    “But. . .”

    “I mean, actually for bicycles.”

    “Maybe it’s this dumpster.”

    “Hmm. . . I don’t think so. Do you see a plaque?”


    “Maybe this whole experience of seeing everyday objects and questioning whether they’re art is the point of the piece.”

    “Maybe. Who’s the artist again?”

    “I don’t remember.”

    “Hey, what about this odd-shaped cubbyhole in the wall?”

    “I can’t see a possible purpose for it. Maybe that’s the art.”

    “There’s no plaque. I think this is where the art was displayed, but is gone now. This is the last day of the exhibit.”

    “Hey, what about this?”

    etc. . . .

    For those of you who are curious, the odd-shaped cubbyhole turned out to be the art.

    Comment by Autumn Harvest — August 2, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

  10. The university I went to had a sculpture that looked like a giant bike rack, and people used it as such. They had to put up a sign stating that it was “a work of art and not a bike rack, so please quit chaining your bikes to it.”

    Comment by eeyore19 — August 2, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

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